Two of four former players charged with rape are convicted on multiple charges
The two men face at least 15 years in prison
Victim cries at verdict, calls for conversations that can lead to end of sexual violence on campus
Two former Vanderbilt University football players were found guilty of rape and sexual battery by a Nashville jury on Tuesday, CNN affiliates reported.
Corey Lamont Batey, 21, and Brandon Robert Vandenburg, 21, were each convicted on four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also convicted of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.
The victim, who was unconscious when she was raped in a dormitory on June 23, 2013, released a written statement that was read to the media by an assistant district attorney. It said she hoped publicity from the case would help spur conversation on how to end sexual assaults in all college campuses.
“Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame,” the victim’s statement said, according to CNN affiliate WKRN.
The victim was in court Tuesday and cried when the verdicts were read, the station reported.
“Sexual violence against women is wrong,” said Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk, according to CNN affiliate WSMV. “Don’t blame the culture. Don’t blame alcohol. Don’t blame the victim. Sexual violence is a crime, and it will be prosecuted.”
The jury deliberated for three hours, the CNN affiliates reported.
Prosecutors had argued that the two men, who were teammates on the football team, had a feeling of entitlement when Vandenburg brought his 21-year-old unconscious date to his dorm room. According to CNN affiliate WTVF, the victim testified she remembers nothing from that night.
Each man was represented by a different attorney, but they both argued that the players were very drunk that night and the video of the incident didn’t prove guilt, WTVF reported.
Albert Perez Jr., who represents Vandenburg, said his client was unable to comprehend what happened.
“It’s very difficult for a person who is young to understand what happened, because he asked me, ‘What happened?’ He didn’t understand,’ ” the attorney said, WKRN reported.
Another of his attorneys, Fletcher Long, told CNN they will consider an appeal but won’t make a decision on that until sentencing. He said the state failed to prepare a proper indictment.
Batey’s lawyer, Worrick Robinson, said there were “several tragedies in this case,” according to the station.
Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for public affairs said sexual violence will not be tolerated at the prestigious school. The two men were both kicked off the football team and kicked out of school months ago, Beth Fortune said.
“We are confident we acted appropriately,” she said. “Our heart goes out to the victim. Her testimony was forceful and brave. She has received our care and support.”
Two other former players – Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie – have been charged but are yet to face trial in the case. They have pleaded not guilty. They were also dismissed from the football team.
Aggravated rape is a Class A felony punishable by 15 to 80 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 6.
CNN’s Teri Genova contributed to this report.